or some businesspeople, branding can be a controversial topic. It is often misunderstood due to its lack of tangibility and associated difficulty of measurement. Of all the tools in the marketers quiver, it’s probably the one that takes the longest to have an effect and as such, results are diffuse and can blend into the noise of other marketing activities. This can result in heavily sales-driven organizations rarely choosing to invest in it because it’s unable to deliver immediate gratification in the form quarterly sales uplift.
Ironically these heavily sales-driven businesses are often the ones that have the most to gain from investing in a strong brand, since too often revenue is linked to personal relationships, rather than the value offered by the business. The resignation of a key sales executive to go to another business or start their own business could therefore have a material impact on the bottom line due to the high degree of brand liquidity – that is when the brand and the sales staff are the same thing. For these businesses, establishing a brand identity that differentiates it from its competitors is therefore a risk-mitigation activity which warrants serious investment.
In fact, data reveals that the revenue growth of the most relevant brands outperformed the S&P 500 average revenue growth by 230% and EBIT growth by 1,040% over the past 10 years.
Brand is critical for any business operating in a competitive market. Whether you are in B2C or B2B, it is always a human being who makes the final purchasing decision. In B2B, there are often additional stakeholders, each with their own biases and motivations, which influence a purchase. It is at the point in a customer journey, after suitable solutions have been evaluated and a shortlist agreed upon, that the impact of a brand has the biggest influence. It is the emotional match point which seals the deal.
Branding is the effective communication of a value proposition that is compelling to an audience. It has recognisable and consistent visuals including logos, colours and fonts - which the audience will begin to associate with the value proposition and the market positioning of the brand itself. A strong brand can help prospects to make a decision, by subconsciously informing them of what they can expect to receive - from quality, price, service. and trustworthiness
Most businesses struggle to articulate their value proposition. To begin developing your brand, there are five key steps to go though:
- Define your audience and their common characteristics;
- Identify the main problems faced by your audience;
- Define your key value propositions in response to these problems;
- Define your brand archetype/s; and
- Develop compelling & concise key messaging that connects with your audience.
A brand that is consistent with a compelling message will benefit from an increase is trust, recognition and ultimately result in sales uplift and a decrease in marketing spend.